Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Faith Bound Journey Challenge

Faith Bound Journey’s
1300 Mile Challenge

The other day I was chatting with my friend Emily Flake. She casually mentioned that she wished she had someone living near her that could motivate her to run more often. This got me to thinking. Why not form a fitness group that might provide the incentive for some people to EVENTUALLY train for a 5k, or 10k, or even a half marathon?? And would everyone really need to become a runner? NO. It could be just a group to help all of us get or stay healthy and physically active. I know that when I put together the “Within Walking Distance 4.14K Challenge” for the mission reunion there were some who were skeptical about their ability to do it. Not just with running the distance (a little over 2.5 miles) but with walking it as well. Those sisters came anyway and to their surprise they were able to walk the 5k distance and even get up a tough hill! It was awesome. So why not create a challenge that will continue to surprise people with their own ability to do “the impossible”?

Did you know that the handcart pioneers walked a little over 1300 miles to get from Iowa City to Salt Lake City? I didn’t until I looked it up. It was also a 10  to 11 week journey. I did some rough math and a ten week journey averaged out to 18.57 miles a day. Holy cow. Then I read this little golden nugget of wisdom…

 “President Young went on to say that he had always had faith that men, women, and children could cross the plains on foot and draw handcarts and now his faith was based on actual knowledge. He stated: “My reasoning has been like this: Take small children, … and if their steps were counted and measured, those that they take in the course of one day, you would find that they had taken enough to have traveled from 12 to 20 miles. Count the steps that a woman takes when she is doing her work, … steps enough to have traveled from 15 to 20 miles a day. … So with men. … Many people have believed that they could not walk much of a distance, if they had to walk right along in a road, but this is not so. …“I wanted to tell one secret. While those brethren and sisters were faltering, and did not know whether to stop or go along, there was faith in this valley that bound them to that journey. … That is the secret of the movement.”

If Brigham believed they could do it with handcarts for the travelers and prayerful support from the saints in Salt Lake City then I believe we can do it with running/walking shoes and prayers from and for each other all over the world! “Whaaaaaaat?” you exclaim! “Guuuurl, you crazy.” you say. No, I have a mad mad plan for this challenge!

Starting July 29, 2013 to November 10, 2014 we will discover the secret of movement. For the next 66 weeks we will –from the comfort of your own state or country- virtually walk the handcart trail to Salt Lake City. How on earth will this work and why would you want to do it? Each Monday through Saturday we will do one of the following each day (you choose)…

·         Walk/run 3.28 miles OR
·         Bike 3.28 miles OR
·         Swim for 00:30:28 (30 minutes and 28 seconds) OR
·         Do some form of exercise for 00:30:28 (30 minutes and 28 seconds) OR
·         Walk 6,700 steps (use a pedometer during the day and total 6,700 steps by the end of the day)

That is 3.28 miles each day of exercise in some form. At the end of each week we will have “walked” 19.68 miles. By the end of the challenge we will have “walked” 1300 miles. Along the route I will post updates about where we are on the path and what significant event may have taken place that week. Every week I would invite you to comment on something you may have learned about your fitness or something you have accomplished or something you may have felt that week. So, who is invited to do this challenge? Those who are preparing for the Half Marathon next year, those who want to get a little more fit or stay fit, those who want to get healthy, those who have decided they need to get healthier. In other words…everyone!

I wanted this challenge to be accessible to all. That is why if the only thing you can do at the moment is count how many steps you have taken that day… that is great! Go buy a pedometer. Calibrate the sucker and then do whatever it is you normally do during the day. Every now and then check it to see how you are doing. By the end of the day try to reach 6,700 steps. That is roughly 3.28 miles. Congratulations! You did it! Keep it up.

For those of you who have no health issues but want to lose weight this is a great way to just get moving again. DO NOT start out all gang busters and push yourself to the limit right away. Most running or walking programs have you run or walk no more than three days a week  for 30 minutes to begin with. The other three days you can count steps, or do yoga, or swim, or play tag in the yard with your kids for half an hour …and 28 seconds, or go for a bike ride. Or play a video game that makes you dance (for real) or jump around. You get the picture. Just get moving each day Monday through Saturday.

For those of us who are training for a race this is a great opportunity to work in some low impact cross training. A good reminder actually.

Now why did I name the group Faith Bound Journey? We are already bound with a love and friendship that was a result of serving together in the best mission in the world. But we are also given a promise found in the Doctrine and Covenants… 

“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones: And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.”(D&C 89: 18-21) and He has said “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (D&C 82:10)

 So, our promise is bound with our faith. This is a challenge that together we can accomplish.

Just one activity of your choosing one time a day, six days a week (REST on Sundays), for the next 66 weeks and we will have made the journey to Zion. If you want to do it simply let me know in the comment section below. And let others know about the challenge too. Not everyone is on Facebook. Let the journey begin!